Bus Service Lines as a Driver of the Regional Bus Transport Availability
Purpose: The paper presents the impact of changes in the length of bus transport lines in Poland on the regional availability of public transport services. Design/methodology/approach: The temporal analysis takes into account the period dating back to 2000-2020. The studied period saw a significant reduction in the length of bus transport lines in Poland, which should be combined with the socio-economic changes that happened in Poland after 1989. This situation was influenced by a number of factors: the transformation into market-oriented economy, a change in the rules of bus transport organisation, growing role of transport user preferences, a change in the transport behaviour of population and growing access to passenger cars. Findings: The paper is theoretical and empirical in nature. The theoretical layer presents a review of scientific achievements concerning the role played by the public transport in socio-economic development and an assessment of the transformation of bus transport segment in Poland. The empirical layer presents changes in the length of transport lines as well as a spatial and demographic assessment of the density of bus transport lines in Poland. On this basis, a weighted average index reflecting changes in the availability of bus services in Poland was determined. The calculations were presented for the 2000-2020 period, by country and region. Practical implications: The reduction of the number of transport lines and their length affects the operation of localities in Poland. Above all, it results in reduced availability of transport services for local communities. This has a negative impact from the social perspective, limiting mobility opportunity for persons deprived of access to passenger cars. Negative consequences are also connected with the economic and environmental dimension (higher environmental costs). Originality/Value: To date no mechanisms have been developed in Poland to limit the negative consequences of limiting the supply of bus transport services. This is particularly disadvantageous for younger population (in Poland for high school and university students), the elderly and those deprived of an option to use passenger cars.